The Barnsbury Book of Hints and Maxims

Contributed by Islington Local History Centre

The Barnsbury Book of Hints and Maxims

An amusing pamphlet recently found its way into the collection at Islington Local History Centre. 'The Barnsbury Book of Hints and Maxims' was prepared during the 1930s for the secondary school boys of Barnsbury Central School in Hope Street (now Geary Street) in Islington.

This 12 page curiosity offers tips for improved study and social etiquette:

- If studying the French language, it advises, "if you would learn French, at least learn to speak English first. Do you wish to butcher two languages?"

- When watching sport, "do not 'boo' a player or referee. Booing is an act of cowardice. Even if the man is a dirty player that is no reason why you should act like a hooligan."

- And, upon first entering the world of work, "when a boy first enters employment he generally finds reliability and common-sense more useful than a high degree of intelligence."

Such old-fashioned advice may seem out of date today but these words of wisdom were probably taken very seriously during our grandfathers' school days.

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